ADHD: A Parenting Guide

Massage Therapy And Cancer

It used to be assumed that massage therapy was contraindicated for people with cancer. However, as medical personnel have learned, this is not true. While the therapist should avoid the area where any tumors exist, it is only to avoid causing pain or putting excess pressure on any organs that may be affected; it will not cause the cancer to spread. If you are suffering with cancer, here are a few benefits you may experience by receiving a massage.

Reduces Stress, Improves the Immune System

When you are under stress, your immune system suffers. Cancer cause physical, mental and emotional stress. An immune system that has been compromised by stress is less able to fight the cancer cells, which can result in the disease growing and spreading faster than it would if you could keep the stress to a minimum

Dealing with Pain

You may be experiencing pain as the cancer invades different parts of your body. Pain may also be a result of the chemicals given to you during chemotherapy, or from the radiation treatment. Massage can increase circulation and blood flow to an area, stimulate the brain to release opioids (natural pain killers), and increase the release of the hormone oxytocin to relax muscles and give you a sense of calm.

Helps You Cope

Cancer may give you a feeling of helplessness. You may feel as if your body is betraying you and you may become depressed. Getting a massage will increase your body's levels of serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters help you to cope with the disease on an emotional and mental level. You will feel better about yourself, sleep better, and keep you from feeling depressed. This will improve your quality of life as you cope with your illness.

Increase Lymphatic Flow

The lymph system contains white blood cells that work to kill cells damaged by cancer. It then filters these cells out of the lymphatic fluid and out of the body through the circulatory system. Massage can be used to increase the flow of lymphatic fluid, thereby removing damaged cells from your body before they can reproduce or cause more damage.

It is important that you inform the massage therapist that you have cancer, what type and where it is. If you feel any pain during the massage therapy, the therapist can adjust his or her actions to make sure you are comfortable. Of course, with any type of cancer, it is always a good idea to talk with your oncologist before having your first massage session so you know what you need to tell the therapist and receive the most benefits from it